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Plants & fungi

What are hard seeds for?

Hamster digging for seed in gravel
Tue, 2013-05-14 13:53

Hard seeds are prevented from germinating by a water-impermeable seed coat, and for many years this has been considered to be a dormancy mechanism. Scientists from Kew, the University of Bergen and the University of Sheffield have proposed an alternative ‘crypsis hypothesis’: that hard seeds evolved to hide from mammalian predators.

New initiative from Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank to protect UK trees takes root

Fraxinus excelsior (European ash) in Germany
Fri, 2013-05-10 00:00

The UK is unusual in that it does not have comprehensive and genetically representative ex situ collections of native tree populations for research and use in practical conservation.

Pasqueflower restoration

Anemone pulsatilla
Fri, 2013-05-03 10:04

This spring, restoration ecologists at Kew will undertake field studies in the UK to understand better the regeneration niche and pollination mechanism of the calcareous grassland rarity Anemone pulsatilla (syn. Pulsatilla vulgaris; pasqueflower). Fieldwork will take place at a species-rich chalk grassland site in the Chilterns in collaboration with the National Trust.

Auriculas - a most beguiling plant now on sale at Kew Gardens

Auricula in plant pot on sale at Kew
Thu, 2013-05-02 00:00

Once a pastime of the elite in Elizabethan England, the growing and collecting of auriculas now extends to all corners of society. The passion for this stunning plant spread amongst horticulturalists during the 18th and 19th centuries, eventually resulting in the creation of the National Auricula Society in 1872, and enjoyed a long Victorian heyday.

Orchid community agree name changes in Oncidium

Oncidium fuscatum
Wed, 2013-04-03 14:28

The monumental Genera Orchidacearum series depends on extensive analyses of DNA sequence data to provide guidance about how to classify orchids in an appropriate manner. A recent paper in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society is a good example of the scale and impact of such studies.